Oscar-winning Deaf actress Marlee Matlin is about to step behind the camera!
The “Children of A Lesser God” star is set to make her directorial debut in Fox’s upcoming anthology crime drama “Accused.”
Marlee Matlin Set To Make Her Directorial Debut With ‘Accused’
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the “CODA” actress will direct an episode where a deaf woman “becomes a surrogate and commits a crime of advocacy and protection.”
“I could not be more excited for the opportunity to direct, and to work on a project with such esteemed, talented, and skilled producers, writers, cast and crew,” Matlin said. “I’ve never shied away from challenges and having the opportunity to be one of the first female, Deaf directors in television is one I am looking forward to.”
“Accused” is based on a British drama. The series reportedly “opens in a courtroom on the accused, with viewers knowing nothing about their crime or how they ended up on trial. Told from the defendant’s point of view through flashbacks, Accused holds a mirror up to the current times with evocative and emotional stories. In Accused, viewers discover how an ordinary person gets caught up in an extraordinary situation, ultimately revealing how one wrong turn leads to another, until it’s too late to turn back.”
Marlee Matlin Hopes That ‘CODA’ Will Open Doors For The Deaf Community
Matlin is coming off the success of the 2021 movie “CODA,” which is shaping up to be a major Oscar contender.
The acronym CODA stands for Child of a Deaf Adult or Children of Deaf Adults. The film tells the story of Ruby (Emilia Jones) who is a CODA and serves as an interpreter for her family and their fishing business. Her mother Jackie is played by Matlin. Her father Frank is played by Troy Kotsur. Her brother Leo is played by Daniel Durant. Conflict arises when Ruby wants to leave her family to pursue a career in music.
The film first premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it picked up the coveted Grand Jury Prize, as well as the Audience Award, Directing Award, and U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble. Apple bought the rights to the film for a record-setting $25 million dollars. The critically acclaimed film has been recognized through nominations at all of the major award ceremonies: the BAFTA Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, the Artios Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, the PGA Awards, and the WGA Awards.
Speaking through her long-time interpreter Jack Jason, Matlin says, “I hope studios take notice that you can have more than one Deaf actor, and they don’t have to be in the background. I hate getting political about this kind of stuff, but Deaf actors can play many different roles, just like everybody else. So why not use them more to create a different perspective?”
Marlee Matlin Is Looking Forward To More Opportunities For Deaf Actors & Deaf Culture
We’re smiling from ear to ear 🤟 CODA receives the Actor® for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture! #sagawards pic.twitter.com/bjy8LlVQiy
— SAG Awards® (@SAGawards) February 28, 2022
“CODA” picked up the win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 2022 Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. Marlee Matlin gave the acceptance speech on behalf of the cast at the end of the night. Her speech was rendered into English through an ASL interpreter.
During the acceptance speech, she thanked the SAG Award committee and Apple TV+ “for trusting us, for believing in us, our movie… you bought it for $25 million dollars at Sundance. Only $25 million,” she joked.
She also thanked writer-director Sian Heder: “Thank you for writing the words that included Deaf culture. We love you.” She also issued her thanks to ASL interpreters and CODAs all over the world, which included her four children.
“You are all our peers. We Deaf actors have come a long way,” Matlin signed through her interpreter. “Thirty-five years… I have been seeing so much work out there all this time. I’ve watched all of your films, and I pay the deepest respect to all of you.”
“This validates the fact that we Deaf actors work just like everyone else,” she continued. “We look forward to more opportunities for Deaf actors and Deaf culture.”